Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Joni

Preventing cakes from falling in the middle

Recommended Posts

Made a banana cake last night...tested it and it was done in the middle...took it out and after about 30 minutes, the middle "fell" and was so much wetter than the sides.

Perhaps I should wrap the pan? Too much banana? I did use the xanthum gum powder which the recipe said gave it a finer texture.

Thanks for your advice!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate it when that happens!

How much xanthan gum did you use? I just don't know what xanthan could possibly add that the banana wasn't already doing.

What was your formula? Is this an eggless cake?


Edited by K8memphis (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

just one teaspoon xanthum. used two eggs, but separated them. Added stiff egg whites and folded in. Thanks...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your formula is off.

One teaspoon of xanthan is too much for one regular recipe and it's not needed if you are using real bananas in there. A quarter teaspoon or a half teaspoon max per recipe for non-fruited cakes. And if you have a nice recipe it's not needed at all. It sounds like a cool secret ingredient but it's not so good really.

I mean a tablespoon of applesauce (I prefer the babyfood kind) does as much as the xanthan and it adds a great taste pop too, nothing definite, just mmm this is good.

I experimented with it hot & heavy thinking I found the secret of the ages, mmmnope.

Save it for other applications, whatever they are. :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been using this divine chocolate cake recipe for about a year now. It's this one from Epicurious. It's so rich and delicious. I just love it. The problem is that whenever I make it, it falls slightly in the center. It's not totally collapsed, just a slight indentation in the center.

I treat it no differently when it comes out of the oven than any other cakes I make, yet it always falls slightly in the center. So really, I don't think it's anything I'm doing, I think it's the recipe. And forget about making cupcakes with the recipe. I tried that once and they all had little wells in the center. (I quickly filled them up with ganache and topped with Italian Meringue Buttercream and they were the hit of the 4th of July party, so all was not lost, but still...)

Any thoughts on why it collapses somewhat? I just love the flavor and texture of this cake, it's just a pain to deal with that well in the center...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The chocolate-orange combination sounds lovely!

Have you tried either: very slightly reducing the liquid in the recipe OR baking just a few minutes longer?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't tried reducing the liquid. I'll try that next. I have baked a few minute longer and it seems to burn easily on the edges. Perhaps lowing the temperature and baking longer might do the trick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm far from expert, but some things it could be are underbaking (either time or temperature could be off – as baroness suggested), too much leavener, undermixing... I'm sure someone who knows more than I will be able to look at the recipe and figure it out.

Does your cake look like it rises properly and then falls? Does it fall while it's still in the oven? Or is it fine until you take it out of the oven?

Another question is are you sure your oven is calibrated properly? Mine is so far off I rely on an oven thermometer instead of the dial.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try not greasing/flouring the sides (only do the bottoms) of your cake pans. This will give the cake something to climb as it rises, and it may do so more evenly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the cake is rising in the oven but then collapsing I would suggest continuing cooking beyond the normal time but at a slightly lower oven temperature to prevent the burning you describe. This should help dry out the cake and firm the structure.

Another idea might be to add some kind of starch to the batter. A lot of French sponges, for instance, use potato starch or cornflour. Sieve it in with the flour at the start and see how you go. This should help add structure.

R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems to rise properly, then fall once out of the oven. No, I've never checked the temp of my oven but it might be slightly under because everything always takes longer than the suggested range of cooking times. (If a recipe says 50-60 minutes, I know it will be at least 60 for example).

RichardJones - how much would I add?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If adjusting the heat doesn't work I was wondering about structure. I don't know how experienced a baker you are so this may not apply at all. I was wondering if your ingredients are at room temp and are you creaming the butter and sugar long enough?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup, ingredients are all at room temp and I'm pretty sure I'm creaming long enough. I mean, I don't do it any differently than any other cake I make and all those turn out fine.

In the reviews a couple people mention that this cake doesn't rise very much, and it doesn't, but nobody mentions the falling in the center. But it happens every single time I make the cake. I just can't find another chocolate cake recipe I like as well as this one flavor-wise.

I'd also be open to a different chocolate cake recipe. I think I like this one so well because it uses melted chocolate as opposed to only cocoa powder. I find that cocoa powder cakes have a particular flavor to them that I'm not partial to. Every time I make this cake, people go bonkers. I mean, it's really incredible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My understanding is that if a cake rises in the oven but falls when jostled or removed from the oven, it's because the structure of the cake isn't strong enough because it hasn't finished cooking, whether because the temperature of the oven is too low or the time is too short. I would say get an oven thermometer (they're well under $10), and see where your temperature is really at, then you can adjust either temperature or time accordingly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My recommendation would be to increase the insulation of the cake tin....say, a layer of aluminium foil and then four or so layers of baking paper and then a few more layers on the outside of the tin to prevent that burning. Then crank the temperature up a bit higher (not a lot) and try again. If it sags, but doesn't burn, go higher again until you find the sweet spot. The middle usually sags due to the denser centre not being cooked fully and dragging the top down as it settles when cooling. The problem is, going higher results in burning and cracking, unless your insulate the tin appropriately.

Hope this helps!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you baking the cake in the amounts they recommend for the pan sizes? They seem to be pretty thin. I have a great vanilla cake that bakes great in sheets or thin layers but will fall in the center if I try to make thicker layers with it. I add some extra flour to make thicker layers and it comes out great that way. I would suggest trying to add about 1/4 cup more flour for the recipe that you posted the link to. I'm pretty sure it will work. If you try it or the other suggestions, please let us know if any of them worked out well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hi, just wanted to share my 2cents, ive had some experience with cakes that rises up and, sadly going back down after baking but not by me, but a friend/worker i was training to help me out. whenever i would bake my chocoalte cake recipe, it would be plump and rises beautifully, but whenever he makes them the well appears, so i made a lot of observations on how he does it. for me it was 2 things, first was the temp of the oven, and 2nd was the mixing of the eggs, are you sure you werent putting them in too fast? i dont want to sound bad but just sharing. to address my friends problem was me fixing his timing with the eggs when all was well mixed and creamed before putting in the next one. once we got through every cake came out perfect already. another tip would be the foil mentioned above. you could slow bake the cake a bit with a tin foil on top of it to reduce crisping the top right away and make the cake top heavy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My chocolate sour cream cake always sinks in the middle and the sides rise as they're supposed to. It's done in a 10 inch removable bottom pan, usually goes for 10 minutes longer than the recipe calls for and still sinks in the middle. All of my ingredients are at room temp when I start. I cut this cake into three layers and I dislike having a huge divot in my cake... Any advice is welcome!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You probably have too much leavening agent. I'm guessing the recipe has something like bicarb soda to react with the sour cream. If you use too much then the cake will rise too fast, and all the gas will bubble out of the top before the cake has time to set, resulting in a sunken middle. So conversely, using less bicarb (and perhaps a cooler over) will result in less gas, but this allows the cake to firm up and set without losing it - so it won't sink.

FWIW I have a chocolate sour cream cake recipe I make a lot, and I always had the same problem. One day I doubled the recipe but forgot to double the amount of bicarb, and it came out perfectly. Since then I have used half the amount of bicarb and have had perfect results every time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By pastrygirl
      Cake construction question - I have a wedding cake order next month for about 175 people.  I think it's going to be 14" round, 12" round, double-height 9" round, and a separated 6" layer with her great-grandma's cake topper.
       
      My question is about the double-height layer.  Should I layer cake and filling as usual  but just make it super tall, or will whomever has to cut the thing appreciate it if there's a goo-free zone of cake-cardboard-cake in the middle so they can separate it into 2 x 9" cakes or more easily cut it?  I mean, I could make two regular layers with 5 layers of cake and 4 layers of filling, not frost the top of one and just stack the other on top, or I could make one giant cake with 10 layers of cake, 9 filling, and no cardboard in the middle.  I almost never have to cut cakes so I don't know if it matters but I thought I'd ask.  The filling will either be salty caramel or raspberry, and the icing will be meringue buttercream, not as sturdy to handle as a crusting icing or fondant.
       
      Or any other tips on giant wedding cakes?  Thanks!
    • By WhiskerBiscuit
      I’m using this recipe to try and make a perfect rice pudding.
       
      Ingredients:
       
      1-2 Tbsp medium-grain white rice, such as arborio (often called risotto rice), calriso, or another california-grown rice--do not wash! 2/3 c additional long-grain or short-grain rice to make 2/3 cups rice total 4 c milk (skim, 1%, 2%, whole, or a combination) 1/3-1/2 c sugar, to taste 1 tsp pure vanilla extract   Recipe:   Place the rice and milk in the rice cooker bowl; stir to combine. Close the cover and set for the Porridge cycle. When the machine switches to the Keep Warm cycle, open the rice cooker, and add the sugar and vanilla, quickly stirring it into the rice milk mixture. Stir until combined. Close the cover and reset for a second Porridge cycle. Stir every 15 to 20 minutes until the desired consistency is reached. Warning: cooking the sugar for more than about 1/2-hour makes the pudding difficult to clean from the rice cooker bowl, so don't add sugar at the beginning of cooking (although the rice pudding comes out fine)! Rice mixture will thicken as it cools. If it comes out too thick, just add more milk.    I initially tried it out using all arborio rice (because that’s all I head on hand), but as the recipe noted it came out too starchy.  However it was really good, but not what I was looking for.  The second time I used the suggested rice mixture.  But looking at other recipes and Kozy Shack’s ingredient list, I decided to add a couple of egg yolks.  At the end of the second porridge cycle (total cooking time 90 minutes) I added two coddled egg yolks (I almost pasteurized them with my sous vide, but that was a little overboard even for me).  The texture was a little too thick, so I added a tablespoon or so of milk and then thought it was too thin so I kept with the porridge cycle.  I checked about 15 minutes later and my thick porridge all of a sudden became a liquid soup.  I kept cooking and after an hour it reduced to the thickness I wanted, but the rice broke almost completely down.  What I want to know is what happened to make it go from a thick porridge to soup in a very short amount of time.  Was it adding the egg yolks?  There has got to be some science-y reason behind it.    
    • By Kasia
      COURGETTE MUFFINS WITH LEMON
       
      Since I found the recipe for courgette muffins with lemon on the Polish blog gotujzcukiereczkiem I decided to prepare them. My children looked at the ingredients with surprise. Courgette and cakes don't go together well. The argument that they add caster sugar to the courgette pancakes didn't convince them. The muffins reminded my husband of the lemon cake his grandma used to prepare many years ago. I just liked them. They were short lived, because they disappeared in no time, slightly lemony, moist and not too sweet. They were perfect.

      If I didn't know they had courgette in them, I would never believe it. Try it, because it is worth it.

      Ingredients (for 12 muffins)
      muffins
      200g of flour
      a pinch of salt
      half a teaspoon of baking soda
      half a teaspoon of baking powder
      150g of sugar
      peel from one lemon
      a tablespoon of lemon juice
      2 eggs
      150ml of oil
      a teaspoon of vanilla essence
      a teaspoon of lemon essence
      210g of grated courgette
      icing:
      3 tablespoons of milk
      10 tablespoons of caster sugar
      1 teaspoon of lemon essence

      Heat the oven up to 170C. Put some paper muffin moulds into the "dimples" of a baking pan for muffins.
      Mix together the dry ingredients of the muffins: flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Mix together the sugar and lemon peel in a separate bowl. Add the eggs, oil, lemon juice and both essences. Mix them in. Add the dry ingredients and mix them in. Grate the unpeeled courgette, don't squeeze and don't pour away the liquid. Add the courgette to the dough and mix it in. Put the dough into some paper muffin moulds. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Now prepare the icing. Mix the milk with the caster sugar and lemon essence. Decorate the muffins with the lemon icing.

      Enjoy your meal!


    • By pastrygirl
      I had a chance to try a couple of Valrhona's new "inspirations" flavors today, the passion fruit and the almond.  The almond was good but I'd probably add salt.  The passion fruit is intense and delicious, I bet you could cut it with a sweeter white chocolate and still get good flavor.  They also have strawberry.  These are cocoa-butter based so can be used for shell molding.  https://inter.valrhona.com/en/inspiration-valrhona-innovation
       
      I could definitely see using these.  Passion fruit is one of my favorite flavors, and I already indulge in the convenience of Perfect Puree so I don't think this would compromise my integrity   
       
      Just wanted to share.  Available soon, probably expensive
    • By Kasia
      BANOFFE - MY DAUGHTER'S BIRTHDAY CAKE
       
      This year, mischievous nature tried to upset my daughter's birthday plans. Spending your birthday in bed with a thermometer isn't an excellent idea ¬– even for an adult. For a teenager it is a drama comparable to cancelled holidays. My daughter told me that you are thirteen only once. And she was right. Literally and figuratively.

      I wanted to sugar the pill for her on this day and cheer her up for a bit, so I prepared a caramel cake with bananas – banoffee in the form of a small birthday cake. My sweet magic and the dinner from her favourite restaurant worked, and in the end her birthday was quite nice.

      Ingredients (17cm cake tin):
      150g of biscuits
      75g of butter
      200ml of 30% sweet cream
      250g of mascarpone cheese
      2 tablespoons of caster sugar
      2 bananas
      300g of fudge
      1 teaspoon of dark cocoa

      Break the biscuits into very small pieces or blend them. Melt the butter and mix it up with the biscuits until you have dough like wet sand. Put it into a cake tin and form the base. It is worth rolling it flat with a glass. Leave it in the fridge for one hour. Spread the biscuit layer with fudge and arrange the sliced bananas on top. Whisk the chilled sweet cream with the caster sugar. Add the mascarpone cheese and mix it in. Put the mixture onto the bananas and make it even. Sprinkle with the dark cocoa and decorate as you like. Leave it in the fridge for a few hours (best for the whole night).

      Enjoy your meal!

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×